Wyatt Cook and Terek Nesheim are 6-foot-6 forwards on the UW-La Crosse men’s basketball team.
On Wednesday night against Whitewater, they did their damage in crunch time outside the 3-point line.
Cook made a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
Nesheim hit a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 76-72 lead with 2:22 left in OT, and La Crosse went on for an 84-78 victory over the Warhawks in a WIAC men’s basketball game Wednesday night at Kachel Gymnasium.
Nesheim scored nine of his 22 points in overtime as La Crosse remained in a four-way tie for first place in the WIAC with a 3-1 record.
The Warhawks, who fell to 0-4 in the conference, were plagued by foul trouble. Freshman forward Trevon Chislom fouled out early in overtime. He was the third UW-Whitewater forward to foul out after Jack Brahm and Riley Jensen.
“When we aren’t moving the ball and guys aren’t cutting as well and we aren’t scoring, that’s what it is,” sophomore point guard Bailey Kale said. “When we made our big runs, you could see everyone was sharing the ball. We need to get into that quicker.”
Besides losing three players to fouls, UW-Whitewater’s top scorer Equan Ards suffered a cramp that slowed him in overtime.
La Crosse outscored Whitewater 13-7 in OT.
The visitors went on an 8-1 run to start overtime. Nesheim and Cook combined to score the first six points of overtime. Cook finished with a game-high 26.
The Warhawks trailed for the first 37-plus minutes of the game. Ards, a junior transfer, made a right-handed layup during a scramble to give the home team its first lead of the game, 67-66, with 2:18 to play in regulation.
Whitewater had trailed 64-58 with 5:33 to play. Ards scored a basket, sophomore point guard Bailey Kale made a pull-up mid-range jumper, and Trevon Chislom made two free throws on consecutive possessions to get the Warhawks to within two points.
Whitewater got a stop, and Ards made a layup to knot things up at 64 out of the timeout.
“We allowed them to throw the ball into the post for the first 30 minutes of the game,” Whitewater coach Pat Miller said. “I think finally our post guys did a better job of getting on corners and keeping the ball out. We were taking away angles and then we were able to come off of non-shooters to knock some balls loose.”
That was the best stretch of the night for the Warhawks.
“It wasn’t really an adjustment, we just finally did what we’re supposed to do in the post defensively,” Miller said.
The loose post play caused the majority of the Whitewater fouls.
“We were just trying to be physical in the post and going after their post players,” Chislom said. “We have a lot of work to do to get in front and try to deny the ball.”
Prior to the 8-0 run which tied the game at 64, 6-foot-2 freshman Austin Gates was guarding Nesheim.
“I think some of the smaller guys understand that you have to move your feet and get around to defend the post,” Miller said. “One of the best post defenders I ever had was a 6-3 guy who constantly moved and it was tough to get the ball into the post with him defending. I thought Gates did a good job tonight.”
It was Brahm who led the Warhawks in the first half. He scored five points during a 10-4 Warhawks’ run that cut the home team’s deficit to three points at halftime 35-32.
“Once we got into a rhythm and we started to move, we were better,” said Miller of the run before the end of the first half. “They do a good job defensively, but they bring a lot of help. If we read the help and make the extra pass, you’re putting them into long closeouts. (Chislom and Brahm) attacked the basket, but if you’re just dribbling in place, you’re never going to create those scenarios.”
UW-Whitewater plays at UW-Stout at 3 p.m. Saturday.
UW-LA CROSSE 84, UW-WHITEWATER 78
La Crosse 35 36 13—84
Whitewater 32 39 7—78
UW-La Crosse (84)—Cook 10 5-6 26, Norcia 2 0-0 6, Nesheim 6 9-10 22, Haese 3 0-0 8, E. Anderson 6 2-4 16, S. Anderson 1 0-0 2, Bunders 2 0-0 4. Totals—30 16-20 84.
UW-Whitewater (78)—Gates 0 3-4 3, Ards 9 4-5 24, Brahm 5 0-0 11, Jensen 1 0-0 2, Kale 4 4-4 13, Fox 1 0-0 2, Burks III 2 3-4 7, Chislom 5 5-7 16. Totals—27 19-24.
3-pointers—UWL 8 (Cook, Norica 2, Nesheim, Haese 2, E. Anderson 2); UWW 5 (Ards 2, Brahm, Kale, Chislom). Total fouls—UWL 21, UWW 19. Rebounds—UWL 32, UWW 31.